A History of Hentai: The Super Abbreviated Version

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Way back in February 2016, after wading through my computer for a good old fashioned spring clean, I ended up editing and posting some history material that never quite made it into my PhD – mostly due to length and relevance issues. Continuing my adventures of delving into the folder helpfully labelled ‘UNUSED WRITING’, here’s another piece that’s been repurposed for my blog after a period of deep hibernation. Enjoy!

Note: I have gone out of my way to exclude any visually explicit content in this article. However, the topic itself obviously may not be considered child-friendly, and possibly won’t be to everyone’s taste regardless. Please proceed with this understanding. Continue reading

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The Old, The New, The Frank, The Untrue: Changing Faces of Japan’s Sex Industry


Prostitution may be (technically) illegal in Japan – it has been since the 1950s – but the sex industry itself is very much alive and kicking. Want to be chatted to by beautiful women or pretty boys over some pricey drinks? The hostess and host clubs have you covered. Feel like being bathed by an attractive lady who uses her naked body to apply the soap? No problem, that’s what soaplands are for. Got a highly specific itch you want to scratch? Get your cosplay and setting fetish needs met down to the last detail at an image club. Some institutions are a bit odder or less infamous than others, however, and Japan’s sex industry is in many ways quite different than it was in the 80s, 90s, or even early 2000s. Continue reading

Exploring Enjo Kosai

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In a previous article here on Otaku Lounge discussing gyaru street fashion and subculture, I made brief mention of something called ‘enjo kosai’ – translating roughly to ‘assistance relationship’, but probably better understood by the term ‘compensated dating’. Today I’d like to expand on this by taking a brief look not only at the background behind the term, but also how it’s been viewed by Japanese media and the general public. Continue reading

Love in the Moe Realms – A Concise ‘Dere’ Guide

45. picture1The moe phenomenon has been around for a couple of decades now – long enough to see many sub-trends come and go, and for copious amounts of manga and anime to be based on almost nothing else. Small wonder then that moe as a whole has spun off into numerous different types and categories over the years, each of them catering to its own particular brand of fetishized cute: glasses moe, maid moe, and bandaged moe, just to name a few. Another distinct evolution of moe (or rather, several evolutions closely related to each other), are the ‘dere’ varieties, all of which have seen widespread fan usage since the early to mid-2000s. This article aims to loosely explain the four most common of these – tsundere, yandere, kuudere, and dandere. Continue reading

5 Decent Yaoi Anime

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Ah, yaoi. The bishounen. The angst. The creepy I-love-you, rape-as-romance themes. While still considered a niche genre in comparison to more mainstream anime, yaoi has gained a significantly larger following than yuri and has an extremely passionate fanbase. There are also copious amounts of anime titles that don’t specifically fit into the yaoi genre, but which nonetheless either imply or leave the possibility open for male/male pairings – often as a kind of female-orientated fanservice. Every now and then though, a yaoi title comes along that manages to break the mold and present a genuinely thoughtful, creative, or (somebody pinch me) realistic love story. Continue reading

5 Decent Yuri Anime

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I’ve been meaning to write an article like this for a while now – not because I like yuri more than any other genre of anime, but because it’s such a niche genre in comparison to most others. Sure, you can find yuri pairings in any number of pornographic works, but anime that depict lesbian relationships in more genuine, realistic terms are actually incredibly few and far between. [As an aside, I think this has in large part to do with the general fanbase; when not overtly or explicitly sexual, yuri is a genre that’s often targeted towards women, not men – yet there are far more yaoi fans among women than yuri fans, and so the amount of anime being produced to cater to them are similarly low. Of course, this is not to say that there aren’t any men who also enjoy watching yuri anime, but this can actually become more of a problem in the long run, since it’s further complicating an already very fractured audience.] Having now watched a fair few yuri titles, many of which I will never, ever be watching again, I decided it might be a good idea to celebrate those that managed to stand out due to their intelligence, innovation, or sincerity – especially if, like me a few years ago, you have a curiosity in the genre but have absolutely no idea where to start. Continue reading

Review: Hourou Musuko (Wandering Son)

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An effeminate boy who wants to be a girl, a masculine girl who wants to be a boy, and a student who comes to her first day at a new school dressed in a boy’s uniform just because. On its own it comes across a bit like the beginning of a joke that begins with three people walking into a bar and ends with a dirty punch-line. With the word ‘anime’ added to the mix, it probably sounds like a recipe for a series involving a lot of fanservice and/or pornography and not much else, since the number of anime titles dealing with gender identity and cross-dressing in a realistic and non-comedic way are extremely few and far between. Hourou Musuko (Wandering Son) does exactly that. Continue reading